Review of the Year: April

This month saw the launch of the Comet s campaign to spruce up the streets and stop litter blighting the area. We asked readers to back the bid, telling them that litter louts were costing each council tax payer up to �46 a year, so the rot had to stop. B

This month saw the launch of the Comet's campaign to spruce up the streets and stop litter blighting the area.

We asked readers to back the bid, telling them that litter louts were costing each council tax payer up to �46 a year, so the rot had to stop.

Bin It! Keep Comet Country Tidy was backed by Stevenage Borough Council and North Herts District Council.

The continuing problem of litter is a serious one. In Stevenage, around 2,400 tonnes of the stuff are picked up each year while in North Herts the amount is 1.500 tonnes.


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Sharon Taylor, leader of the council in Stevenage, said bluntly: "If we didn't have to pick up litter, there would have been no council tax increase this year."

As the football season headed for an exciting climax, a heavy police presence was planned for Stevenage Boro's home clash with fellow promotion rivals Cambridge United.

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Boro chief executive Bob Makin warned United's fans not to travel unless they had a ticket for the game.

The hatch of the day happened on the A1(M) just south of Letchworth Gate when Darren Munn's car became an unlikely maternity suite when his daughter was born on the front seat.

He was taking his partner Ashley Welch to Lister Hospital for the birth of their third child when she told him to pull over onto the hard shoulder.

"There was no time to make it to Lister and when I looked down the baby's head was coming out," said Darren. "It all happened so quickly. It was the most traumatic drive I have ever done and one I don't want to do again."

As she cuddled baby Darcie, who weighed a bouncing 7lb 14oz, Ashley said: "If there is a next time I will make sure we leave home in plenty of time."

Another Comet campaign launched this month was to halt Luton's threatened expansion onto North Herts Green Belt land.

Stop The Luton Invasion - Save Our Green Space was aimed at thwarting the "preferred option" to expand the Bedfordshire town by building 5,500 homes and two major bypasses on a huge swathe of prime Herts countryside taking in the Lilley valley.

Intrepid reporter Richard Young grabbed a bull by the horns (almost literally) when he chased a runaway bovine which was causing mayhem across Stevenage.

He dashed out with a video camera to catch the action as police tried to corral the beast. An irate office ordered Richard into a car and drove him away, but he sneaked back and managed to film police marksmen put an end to the animal's escapade. His footage later appeared on regional TV.

A bag found close to a lay-by on the A10 near Puckeridge contained a human right leg. Leading a murder investigation was Det Ch Insp Michael Hanlon, of the Herts and Beds major crime unit, who said it was "quite feasible" that there was a link between the leg and a head found in Leicestershire a week before, a left forearm discovered in Wheathampstead in March and a left leg dumped in Cottered a week before that.

Two cyclists were in training to ride the length of the Pyrenees to help combat cancer. Stephen Hague, 40, and Gareth Hughes, 37, both from Hitchin aimed to compete in The Raid Pyrenean, pedalling 450 miles in under 100 hours in aid of The Prostate Cancer Charity.

Police investigated a fight between parents during a youth football cup final. They were called after the referee suspended play for 20 minutes during the match at the County Ground in Baldock Road, Letchworth GC.

Comet reporter Louise McEvoy was in the news herself when she successfully competed the London Marathon in 6hrs 26mins, raising more than �3,000 for CHILDREN with LEUKAEMIA.

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